Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year -- New PRs!


It's about time to start hitting that base, boys and girls. If you don't happen to have the Sweet blender hook up featured in our photo here, may we strongly recommend checking out the CycleOps site for some equally invigorating trainer workouts -- just make the smoothies ahead of time, then hop on the horse with free threshold, aerobic and anaerobic workouts designed by the kings and queens of killowatts.

Click here to get moving now!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!


From the Team Evotri family to yours: Be safe, train hard, and be advised there are no calories in any of the cookies you eat today. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Iron Mom Chronicles -- Volume Two

By: Iron Wil

My Wii Epiphany

In between baking batches of gingerbread men this morning, I was cajoled into taking at whack at our Wii Fit balancing act game with my eight-year-old son. Of course, before I could trip the tightrope fantastic, I had to create a "Mii" -- a little cartoon avatar of myself -- which I did, and it was fun. I couldn't get to the tightrope game until I went through all the body test/baseline hoo-ha, however -- enter your height, weight, stand like this, balance like that --which I did, and I'll have you know, it was not so fun.

Honestly, I really should have taken the doctor up on her offer to give me epi pins for my milk allergy the other day, as I really could have used one when the freaky little animated Wii board told me my body was "virtually 47 years old," then tried to console me in its little Wii way by saying, "But hey, Geezer McOldness, that's only 11 years more than what you actually are!" I mean come on, does that work in Japan?

Anyway, after watching myself crumple over and pork out in calamitous Wii caricature, finally, I was allowed to play.

Now, I don't know exactly when it happened, but somewhere between the crumpling "Mii" and the surprised little "Oh!" reaction of the Wii fit platform as I stepped on it to start my first game, I found I was not at all capable of just playing the stupid thing. No, I was not going to get off that little platform until I'd found a way to dominate the balancing act -- a venue, it occurred to me, that I used to rock most righteously not too long ago.

And that's what it all came down to just then... getting back in the mix with training while still managing to cart kids to their 4,000 practices each week, fold laundry, write, work full-time, etc., etc. Honestly, I was wondering exactly how I was going to pull it off this time, what, with this Cleveland marathon looming in the distance, but once I registered, it all fell into place. Old friends came out of the woodwork with support, and I was out of the gate! Now I'm excited to hit the ground running - literally - next week with bona fide marathon training again... it's been way too long.

So anyway, thanks, rude little animated Wii platform dude; it's on like Donkey Kong.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"You Betcha!"


Why YES, that was Rural Girl you saw chatting it up with Kathleen Allen, the featured mom of four on this year's Kona coverage. Rewind that DVR and check out the strong stride and brimming sense of camaraderie that brought this Midwestern gal 140.6 miles across the big island.

Way to go, Rural Girl!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New from Stu!

Our very own Simply Stu interviews this year's Ironman World Champs! Tune in now as Stu talks tri with Mirinda and Macca now!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jingle Cross Rock Report!

By: Sweet


Over Thanksgiving weekend I was in Iowa for the most important celebration of the holiday season- Jingle Cross Rock! Unlike lesser holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, Jingle Cross Rock is a 3 day epic party that also happens to involve grueling racing on different variations of an incredibly difficult cyclocross course! This year during day 2, Ryan Trebon finally got a gap on the field in the UCI Pro race. On the last lap, near the top of the steep, muddy run-up to Mt. Krumpit that invariably redlines all racers, he encountered a marshmallow peep "hand-up" wedged in the sportsbra of a very devoted cross fan. I guarantee you at that point in the race Trebon was in some serious oxygen debt and mainly focused on finishing up the lap without any mishaps. Still, in tremendous act of sportsmanship rarely witnessed in this day and age, he grabbed that peep and bit its head off!

This one symbolic act distills everything that I have come to love about cyclocross racing. I'm actually not being sarcastic here. When I thought about it some more, this whole attitude of laying it on the line during a race, but never taking yourself too seriously really resonates with me. I have seen one cyclist punch another after the finish of a road bike race where he perceived the other guy to have made a bad move that caused him to crash. I've seen top age group triathletes content to sit in big draft packs for most of an Ironman race. I've known runners that went to psychologists because their heads got so messed up on race day. Cyclocross has become my antidote to all this silliness. Sport should be challenging and there is great value in exploring our physical limits, but it should also be fun.

Driving back home from Jingle Cross Rock I declared that it was my favorite race, of any type, anywhere. Even among excentric cross races Jingle Cross stands out. You really have to go to experience it, but I'm going to try and capture some of the awesomeness that is Jingle Cross here.

The Course

Triathletes have been known to traverse the country seeking the next PR course. Flat, straight courses are valued for their potential to shave off a few seconds or minutes. At the opposite extreme, no two cyclocross courses are alike and none are straight! A race may be held in a flat, grassy, park, but the construction of the corners and barriers always adds a degree of difficulty. Jingle Cross Rock is held on some county fairgrounds near Iowa City, which may conjure up images of flat cornfields. Actually, there is only one hill at Jingle Cross, but Mt. Krumpit is a beast and the course designers use it for all it worth.

Mt. Krumpit from below. This is a descent.

Another unique element of Jingle Cross is that they route the bike course through some of the barns on the course. One of these, dubbed the Grinch's Lair, goes through some loose, deep sand in one of the barns.

Me bombing through the sand in the Grinch's Lair (it's deeper than it looks!)

To keep things festive, there is Christmas music and lights. Another part of the course forces riders to weave in and out of animal stalls in another one of the barns. Pure. Genius.


New to the race this year was a "flyover". These structures are becoming more common in cross races. They consist of a set of stairs on one side and then a steep ramp down the other side. Here's a pic of the ramp side of the flyover at Jingle Cross. Later the course loops back under the same structure.


A last unique feature of the course is the Whoville whirl. This is laid on a flat grassy section and is basically a spiral that you ride into and then it spirals outwards (it only makes sense when you see it in action). Being held over Thanksgiving weekend, you generally get snow some days (this year was a rare dry year) and ice for at least the morning races.

The Races!

As I said earlier, Jingle Cross is now 3 days of consecutive racing, but each course is different. I'll try to give you a little play-by-play for each day.

Friday Night

No that's not a typo. The Friday night races are held under the lights. The organizers bring in some serious candlepower to light up most of the course.


My Cat 4 (beginner) race was very big (50+) and pretty tame by Jingle Cross standards. The barns, flyover, and whirl were in, but hills and barriers were excluded. I registered late, which meant I started way back, which can make or break a cross race if you happen to be in, or behind, a pile-up. I finally sucked it up an bought a USA Cycling license because I was tired of doing the short, less difficult, beginner races. The license is $60 per year for mountain bike and cyclocross, but another $30 if I want a road license as well. This is a rip-off for someone like me whose primary sport is triathlon, but dabbles road, mountain and cross. In any case, my goal for the weekend was to score enough points to upgrade to Cat 3.

Jonah and Cara cheered me on from inside the Grinch's lair for most of the race.

Jonah cheering his dad through the Grinch's Lair Friday night.
I stayed out of trouble Friday night, but courses with little running and no hills don't favor me much. I ended up 8th and knew I had to step it up the next two days. We watched a few more races after mine and Jonah nearly got squashed by a rider that flipped entirely upside down and over the fence on the very technical Mt. Krumpit descent. Driving back to the hotel from the race I looked at the course crawling with racers, under the lights on a freezing November night in Iowa. What must the average person driving by this scene possibly thing of the whole circus? This makes me smile everytime I think about it.


Saturday

Saturday morning we woke up to clear skies, but temps in the teens. That meant that any mud generated during the Friday races was now a slick, solid mess. My Bloomington Cycle teammate Sean Hyser and his dad were also there for all 3 days of racing. On Saturday morning they agreed to watch Jonah so that Cara and I could both race (our races were back-to-back). We really appreciated them taking Jonah for a couple hours! This was Cara's first official cross race (she's done some of our local recycle-cross races in the past). She made up a T-Shirt that said "Baby's First Cyclocross Race" that I don't think many people noticed. Pretty cool anyway! (If this is confusing you read the post below!) Cara avoided all crashes (rarely happens to me) and had a good time.


On Saturday, I was excited for a more challenging course. The more barriers, hills, running and technical sections there are, the better I finish. I just don't have the pure bike fitness to compete with the cyclists on courses that basically amount to flat grass criteriums. The Saturday Cat 4 course had barriers, a big hill run-up, a fast, somewhat technical descent, icy corners and a few other features that suited me. I again started way back since staging is based on registration. As a side note, my single biggest complaint with Jingle Cross is that on Saurday and Sunday they don't call-up the top ten finishers from the previous race, which I think would be a better staging method.

With a risky fast start I picked up about 10 places to probably around 20th place. I rode really clean without any major mishaps. I definitely picked up time and places on each hill run-up even though I felt like I was dying and dragging ass while doing it! In the first lap, I was able to ride a tricky, icy, off-camber section and all of a sudden found myself leading the race! I'd have to say it was pretty cool having the announcers calling the race as you rode past the grandstands.

There were some very strong riders that got caught up in a crash behind me and eventually I was overtaken by two of them. No excuses from me whatsoever. They were physically stronger and at least equal in handling skills. I finished 3rd out of 55 which probably represents my best cross race ever. 3rd also meant a trip to the podium and lots of points towards an upgrade. I believe the winner of this race was from Colorado, which just shows the scope and caliber of racers at this event.


There were lots more races on Saturday along with a spectator party that keeps gaining momentum until the UCI Pro races. So officially, outside alcohol was banned from the races (they were selling cans of beer at reasonable prices). About halfway through the day Saturday I see a bunch of guys pushing something up Mount Krumpit. Looking closer I realized it was a keg on a dolly. Not only that, but it was poorly "disguised" by being wrapped in a blanket with sticks, cornstalks and a pumpkin on top for camoflague. My people. My beautiful, beautiful people.

Another B-N Cycle Teammate, Ken Hoepker, drove over to Iowa just to support and take in the Jingle Cross atmosphere (along with drinking some beers while heckling racers). I should say a little bit more about cyclocross culture for the unitiated. Heckling is a time-honored tradition and is expected from hard-core cross spectators. Also, perhaps because of the Belgian roots of the sport, I have been to exactly zero cross races that don't involve lots of drinking on behalf of the spectators and sometimes the riders. "Hand-ups" are another element unique to cross. I don't know the origins of this particular tradition, but it comes part and parcel with cross racing. Hand-ups often come in two formats: beer or money. The fun comes in trying to see which racers will actually grab and chug part of a beer mid-race.

Money is another common hand-up. Cash hand-ups are generally reserved for the pro 1-2 races since it is well-known that most lesser-category riders will interrupt their race for a buck! Sometimes the money is scattered about on a climb or sand pit, but Jingle Cross specatators (whom I love dearly) really up the ante. This year the girls from the Hollywood Cycle along with some others found all sorts of appealing places to place cash as well as the aforementioned marshmallow peeps. Often it takes way more than a single to get a UCI rider to take notice. Funny how singles placed in strategic parts of the female anatomy completely changed this dynamic. I give huge, huge props to the rider that was able to collect a single from a sportsbra without using his hands (use your imagination). Some of the hijinx were captured on film and conveniently uploaded to YouTube. This starts to give you a sense of the awesomeness of cross fans!









Sunday

Sunday morning was cold and clear again, although it would warm up quite a bit before the day was over. I had survived two days without any significant damage to my person and was excited about day #3. The Sunday morning course had quite a bit of frost on all the corners making things a little sketchy. My poor starting position really caught up with me on Sunday. A big pile up in the first two minutes of racing meant I got stuck way behind as the leaders rode away. There was also a short, but really steep hill that I practiced riding during warm-up. Unfortunately, riders in front of me tried it and failed leading to a pile up that I got mixed up in.

I actually had my foot stuck inside someone else's wheel for awhile which didn't help things. My first lap was discouraging and I was way down on the leaders. As the race started to thin out I picked off riders one by one. I think two laps in there was a relatively long, somewhat straight section where if your legs weren't toasted you could really move. I put everything I had into a big effort and moved up about five places. This turned out to be one of the decisive moves for me in the race as none of those riders passed me back. Again, I was having a hard time telling where I was place-wise because of the first lap debacle. I was able to ride some of the more technical sections that others were pushing so that moved me up some more. I came across the line in 3rd again, with 2nd not far in front, but 4th not far behind!

The best feature of Sunday's racing was the bikini/speedo single speed category. Yes there is a speedo/bikini race in freezing temperatures on an Iowa fairgrounds in November. Silly of you to think otherwise. Half the singlespeed race is quite serious and competitive while the back half is, well, not. There was at least one guy and one girl who have my utmost respect and admiration that raced all-out in clothing that offered almost nothing in the way of protection against crashes. The bikini/speedo racers had multiple beer pitstops and two of them got on a tandem at some point in the course (I know, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it does!). Fortunately for all of you who weren't there the race was well-documented in picture and video.




All Good Things Must Come to an End!

So after 3 days of racing, I had accumulated enought points for an upgrade to Cat 3- which was one of my big goals for the fall. This means I can get out of the crazy, packed Cat 4 fields in the Chicago Cross series to the ever-so-slightly less packed and crazy Cat 3 races. It also means that if I can make it back to Jingle Cross next year, I get to do the more difficult Mt. Krumpit climbs and descents. Game On!

Sean Hyser raced Cat 3 all weekend on his mountain bike, which was probably less of a disadvantage on this course than on most other cross courses. He racked up 8th, 11th, and 10th place finishes in a pretty competitive field.

My sponsors were well-represented at Jingle Cross. Both my Evotri team and Bloomington Cycle Teams are sponsored by Specialized which works out really well for me. Specialized had a big tent and bikes at the race. Todd Wells (Specialized) finished 2nd on both Sat and Sun. Zipp wheels were everywhere on the pro (and many of the amateru) bikes. I think it says something about the durability of Zipp carbon wheels that these wheels that hold up to off-road abuse are the same found on road and tri bikes.

Next winter and the year following, cyclocross nationals comes to Madison, WI and I definitely plan on racing (what's not to like about cyclocross in Madison in January??). Not only that, but the Master's World Cyclocross Championships will follow nationals in Louisville next winter and the winter following. For 2013 the UCI elite world championship will be held in conjunction with the World Masters Champs. That will be a very cool event to go and watch! Man I love this sport!

I'll leave you with one last high-def video from the Jingle Cross races. It might be better to watch this on YouTube rather than on my blog which seems to cut things off unless I really shrink everything down.










Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Congrats!

Big congrats to Teammie, Sweet and his lovely wife, Cara, who will be welcoming baby Sweet #2 into the world this June!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Team Evotri!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Off-Season Rules of Engagement


Kona has come and gone, and we are now officially in the multisport offseason in most areas, especially up here in the northern latitudes. This time of year is actually the perfect time to bring new people into the sport. One of my passions is getting people to live more active, healthy lifestyles, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to encourage someone to sign up for a race. Besides being tons of fun, full of energy, and a sure-fire way to keep people coming back, races give us goals to work toward and hold us accountable in our training.

I have coaxed countless friends, coworkers, and family members to the starting lines of running races, dus, and tris. For me, one of the highlights of this summer was seeing my brother finish his first sprint triathlon. Below, I've compiled a list of steps I usually take when bringing someone new into the sport.

Choose your target. You probably already know who it is. It could be the coworker who keeps saying they'd like to try a triathlon "someday." It could be your mom who has started jogging a little; a 5K race could be just the incentive she needs to keep up the great work. It could be your brother who just graduated from high school or college who misses playing team sports and is looking for a way to stay in shape. It could also be your running buddy who just bought a bike for cross training purposes and has never heard of a duathlon. Remember, you don't have to pick just one target. The more the better!

Plant the seed. Once you know who you'd like to recruit, just bring it up! I usually like to mention it in the context of, "Have you ever thought of..." or "I know of this race that I think you could really like." I try hard not to push it. If the person doesn't seem interested or if they express that the timing or other circumstances just aren't right, I may bring it up once later but then let them just think about it. It's surprising how many times they will decide to do it on their own once the seed's been planted.

Pick a race. It's often best to pick a beginner friendly race that's not completely full of bike porn and type A personalities. Help them pick a race that fits in with the time frame they have to train in a location that doesn't require a lot of time and money to get to. Although some people are really drawn to destination races, I believe that it's best to stay close to home for the first couple.

It enables people to train on the course and have as many family and friends come to cheer as possible! In my brother's case, we helped him choose a race that would be best suited to his strengths. Since he is a biker and was working on staying afloat in the swim, we picked a sprint tri that was heavy on the bike and had a shorter swim. If you have the luxury of being able to choose from multiple races, keep this in mind. One of the benefits of doing this step in the offseason is that registration fees are often much lower this time of year. Signing up early may help alleviate some of the sticker shock!

Help them obtain the equipment they will need. Another great reason to start this process early is that training and racing can be expensive! A first-timer doesn't need a 5000 dollar bike or a 400 dollar wetsuit. You know by now what is necessary for a race (goggles, a bike, a helmet, and running shoes). If they want and can afford more, great. I have had many friends and family who have biked their first races on 10 year-old mountain bikes in running shorts. I did my first tri in just a swimming suit. It's really intimidating at first to sift through all of the "must-haves," and your experience will be invaluable.

Facilitate their training. Your new recruit may already be a type A personality who has decided to research and make up a training program equipped with base, build, and recovery weeks. More than likely, you will need to help them design a regimen that's not intimidating and is feasible and accounts for their lifestyle.

I find that canned programs work really well for beginners, especially if they just contain the day of the week, the distances and type of the workouts, and the effort at which the workouts should be done (easy, med, or hard as opposed to 10 minutes in zone 3 and then 3 x 5 minutes in zone 4). There are gobs of books with great plans in addition to all of the ones available online. Another aspect of facilitating training is making sure that your recruit is getting in workouts that will make them successful in a race.

Make sure they do a brick or two. In my brother's case, my husband Steve and I took him out for several open water swims to prepare him for the freak out factor. Those workouts really made a difference in his training and during his race.

Encourage, encourage, encourage. Check in. See how the training is going. Ask them what they are nervous about. Offer to do a workout with them. Let them know that they can ask you questions anytime. It is so rewarding to be able to see someone working toward a goal.

Prepare them for race day. Make sure they have a nutrition plan (what they will eat for breakfast, race-day nutrition if needed, etc). They may want to run their list of stuff to bring by you. Lend them equipment or clothes if necessary. Ensure they know how to set up their transition area and when they will pick up their packet. Let them know what to expect in terms of the feel of the race (competitive vs beginner-friendly), the structure of the race (time trial vs wave start, whether there are other distances racing, etc), the course, the aid stations, and the after party.

Be there on race day. Whether you are racing that day too or are just going to cheer, join your new recruit on race day! Be there to answer any questions, help calm their nerves, and scream your head off as they near the finish. I still get choked up every time I help another person to a first finish line.

Happy training!

Monday, November 15, 2010

JP Tells the Tale

Michelle sat down with JP to follow up on his Ironman World Championship qualifying race in Florida.

In it, JP takes us through his race in tremendous detail on how he brought his race back from the brink of disaster and disappointment to make an improbable comeback and chase after his former Spartan teammates. Learn how he kept his cool and how he used what he learned from his idol Chris McCormack from this year's world championship to his advantage.

(MP3)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kona, Baby!

JOHN PAUL IS BIG ISLAND BOUND!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

John Paul "Pele" Severin ROCKS IMFL!

Our youngest teammate, John Paul Severin took a little heat to Florida with him today, crossing the IMFL finish line in a wicked fast 9:24:33!

His sick split times include a 56:38 swim time, 4:52:07 on the bike, and a simply ridiculous 3:29.11 marathon.

The boy is a machine, having spanked his age group with his 3rd place rank, not to mention finishing in the top 60 overall!

Way to represent, John Paul! Rest up and know you owned it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rock and Roll, JP!

Tune in to Ironmanlive.com tomorrow morning to track teammie, JP, as he rocks out on the swim bike and run in Panama City Beach, Florida!

Live it up, little brother! Clean house down south!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kona Girl -- Conclusion



Continuing on with the 'things that stand out in my mind' train of thought....

-It took me a whole week to figure out why the T2 changing tent volunteer told me not to lock the door when I went into the porta-potty.

It's so they can get your ass out if you pass out! Like I said in my last post, the bike ride about did me in. It was tough physically, but probably more so mentally. When I got to the changing tent, I was parked onto a chair and the volunteer dressed me like I was a 2 month-old. Then another one slathered me with sunscreen since my arms felt like they were ON FIRE. On my way out I figured I should make a stop to potty as I knew this would be it until it was all over. Either I looked THAT bad or she said that to everyone, I don't know. But, I felt flattered that she was so concerned about me! No, I didn't keel over in there (that would've been COMPLETELY disgusting). I did what needed to be done and got on my way.

-It's a miracle what 2 extra minutes in transition will do for you!

When I got onto the run course, I was amazed to find that I was feeling pretty good! When in doubt, take a little more time in transition. Hallelujah! Needless to say the first 10 miles are through Kona and there is crowd support everywhere. This makes all the difference in the world too. Once I got going I was pleased to find that my legs were not trashed and my gut wasn't sloshy and pukey.

-The last half of the marathon is LONG and HARD and DESOLATE.

There are no spectators other than the awesome volunteers at the aid stations. It's you and the lava fields and the guy next to you running. And you're do damned tired, you're not talking to anyone. I just kept focusing one more mile up the road. 'Just get to the next aid station. Just get to the next aid station.'

-Finishing the Ironman World Championship has left me with feelings I never expected.

Yes, I knew I would feel satisfaction. But other emotions were more apparent.

Respect. Humility. Pride.

I have a huge level of respect for people who come out to this race and execute their race plans flawlessly. More than I could have imagined. It is not easy. The elements and the level of competition are fierce and do take their toll both physically and mentally.

I am humbled to have been able to be a part of this. I've been telling myself that this was the best ass-kickin' I've ever had. Honestly. It was handed to me. In retrospect, that's OK. I am blessed and lucky to have the physical ability and support of my family, friends, sponsors, and coach to get the job done. I still can't believe I was able to be lumped in with this group of stellar athletes.

Lastly, I'm proud. I swear to you, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be in this place. Yes, as time progressed, the desire built and along with that the fitness and ability came. But, it was hard work that made it happen and I'm proud of myself for I succeeding.

"Michelle Brost, you are an IRONMAN!"



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

JP Talks Ironman Florida

Michelle and RobbyB sat down with Evotri's own honey lover, Pooh Bear JP Severin as he prepares for his race at Ironman Florida this weekend. Topics included his preparation for his second Ironman, this year's racing results, his hard core training, life in California, how he plans to crush Ironman Florida, and of course, The Lightening Round!

Be sure to track JP on Saturday at Ironmanlive.com. He's bib #199.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kona Girl -- Part Two!

I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet and post a few pictures. Really, who wants to read a race report? I'll just tell you about a few of the things that stand out in my mind.


-Just because you're passing people left and right on the swim doesn't mean your FAST!

I should know. I seeded myself about 75% on the way back. I fully realized that the average person would finish this swim closer to 1:00 than my hoped for 1:15. I had nothing to prove in the swim and really didn't want to battle the chaos. As I swam, I felt very calm, in control, and like I could do this all day. That should have been a clue. I WASN'T WORKING HARD ENOUGH!

-I can be mean when I have to be.

Never, ever have I done this before. But, some guy (and I'm assuming it was a guy because 73% of the field were men and I couldn't feel fabric on the chest) was climbing all over me. I mean he was literally on my butt a few times. Get off! I pulled the old mule kick number. I bet up my knee and launched a kick as hard and fast as I could landing it right in this person's chest. I mean really, is repeatedly swimming on top of someone necessary? Get off! That was the end of him. Thankfully.

-1:22 swim is NOT good.

No sugar-coating this. That pretty much sucks. What is one of the top priorities for the winter? Get this swim straightened out!

-Changing tent volunteers are simply THE BEST.

If anyone ever questions where they should volunteer or where they feel their impact will be most felt, I can tell you in all certainty it's the changing tent. After I did a complete clothing change with my volunteer's help, I went to the potty in the tent. This was not a "pee on the bike" day.

I realized while peeing away that I had forgot my glasses in my T1 bag. Crap, I thought. She's probably already taken my bag back to the hangers. I'll have to go find it and waste a lot of time doing that. This transition was already long enough. Now it will be worse. As I came out of the potty, guess who's standing there with my bag and glasses in her hand. My angel of a transition volunteer! I'm telling you these people are THE BEST!

This guy's not the volunteer!

-I am AMAZED at the power of nature.

I started the bike ride feeling good and solid. I was conscientously trying to keep my wattage down. I had been told by coach that the course was mind-numbing. I was trying to prepare myself for the psychological battle I knew things would turn out to be. All that said, I wanted this to be a race. I wanted to go hard and pass a few people! The bike is usually a strength for me and I typically have good feelings about it.

What started out as a drive to battle other competitors quickly turned into a drive to battle nature. I distinctly remember when the flip switched. It was about at mile 40. My body was starting to heat up and we were smack dab in the thick of the Queen K and lava fields. I knew I wasn't yet close to the ascent to Hawi and the heralded trade winds. I lost the connection between my power meter and hub. I was getting no data. Shortly thereafter, I dropped my chain shifting from the big to small chain ring. I had to pull over, stop and fix my chain.

I remember thinking how 'this sucks' and I'm going to have to do the rest of the ride without my power meter. I was thinking my battery was dead. I don't know how the psyche flip-flopped but it then turned into a race not between me and other girls but between me and the heat and wind. I heard tell it was about 100F in the lava fields. The trade winds were scary. And yes, like I've always heard the wind literally felt like a blast from an open oven door. I had a few near misses when my bike careened sideways and I thought I was going down.

I just started to think 'this isn't fun anymore' and that I wanted it to be over. I was further bothered by this thinking because, I usually do pretty well on the bike and this made me want to conserve some of myself to prepare for an equally difficult run. (BTW-I'm not sure what went on with the meter. But, I turned the meter back on about 10 miles up the road and it worked just fine. On the ride back to Kona, the meter lost connection again about in the same spot. Interference with something out on the course? I'm not sure.)

-Another goal is to toughen up my mind when the going gets physically tough on the bike.

I've lost something here over time. I need to learn to deal with hurt better and learn to run following that hurt.

That's it for now. I'll finish this story in a few days. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Kona Girl Comes Home

Whew! Time to get something down on paper about this most epic adventure!

I just completed the Ironman World Championship race in Kona, Hawaii 10/9/10 and came back to north central WI Wednesday afternoon. The leaves are off the trees and everything is brown and all Wisconsin-like. Those of you from WI know exactly what I mean; somewhere between winter and summer. Yes, that's fall I realize. But yucky to me. A far cry from the niceties of Hawaii.


I have no idea how I'm going to break this experience up into manageable posts. So, please, bear with me because I'm sure there will be a lot of rambling!

I think the things that really struck me the most were the people and the atmosphere. Electric. That is the best word I can use to describe it. Yes, the scenery was beautiful. The bike porn was hot. The food was great. But, it was the people and the energy about the race that will stick with me forever.

PEOPLE

On the trip out, we knew we'd be traveling with tons of Ironman geeks. I met a professional photographer who LOVED name dropping and letting us know what pros he would be focusing on. It was funny because there is always someone you see over and over on a trip like this and he was the guy! And, no, he wasn't real excited about taking my pic!! I also met a gentleman named Phillipe (probably screwed up the spelling). He was from LA. He wasn't a racer and he did not have an athlete he was going with. He had done an Ironman several years ago and just loved the sport. He recently had knee surgery. Basically, he always wanted to go to Kona for the race and was looking to get back into the sport. How nice it was that I got to see him out on the run course twice and on the plane ride home! People like that were everywhere. They just love Ironman!
We met people with personality plus. Like the guy we met at lunch who told me he was racing and writing a book on how to compete at Kona via the minimalist training plan and bad diet regimen. He was kidding. But it got me to thinking, hmmm....maybe I should write the book from the bad diet perspective!!! Mine is definitely lacking! It would probably resonate with a lot of people! Anyway, he wasn't racing. But he was a volunteer. I saw him in the transition area and out on the run.

I've got to give a huge shout-out to the Wisconsin folks; Kim Basala, and Mike and Jenny Wimmer. I saw you guys out there and it truly warmed my heart. I don't know you very well. But you're my home state people. To have your support means a lot!

My personal peeps were the best! I'm probably not the funnest person to be around the few days leading up to a big race. I tend to get quiet and withdrawn. I don't want to talk about it and I have a lot of nervous energy. To put up with me was a challenge. Plus, the few days before IM is full of IM activities; expo, registration, pre-race banquet, bike racking, and workouts. This cut into their fun and I am grateful for their patience. You guys are the BEST!

ATMOSPHERE

I lump the racers in this category because they are the driving force behind what makes the atmosphere the atmosphere. Anyone who's done an Ironman or somehow participated in an Ironman either volunteering or spectating knows that the level of fitness at these events is great. Now take that level and ratchet it up X 10! That's what it felt like. The men were tan, slick, and lean. No complaints from me there! The women were impressive to say the least. Body fat? What's that? I saw women in the 50-54 age group on the podium post-race who I dream of looking like. I suppose a lot of this was generated in my head and of my own insecurities but I kept looking at myself and thinking 'what are you doing here? you do NOT look like these people! you look like a good-old WI dairy queen.' And intense! My sister kept saying that she wanted "to feed these people a cheese burger". They all looked pretty focused and it seemed clear they were there with a job to complete.

The event itself is extremely well-organized. This also contributes to the overall great feel of the race. The expo was like a triathlon North Pole; a place to go and see all the toys you can only dream of all in one spot. Of course, the most fabulous of fabulous were there including Headsweats, 2XU, Specialized, CycleOps, SRAM, and Zipp. The pre-race and post-race awards banquets are also top notch. The food was actually good and had some local flavor. There were luau dancers and fire twirlers, Hawaiian music and drum lines. Mike Reilly is, of course, the announcer and he really does an awesome job. If you weren't pumped to race before, Reilly definitely has you ready to go. If you thought your day was less than spectacular, Reilly makes you feel like a rock star after.

People love this race. Ironman athletes, supporters, volunteers....everyone. This is the big dance and it shows. I have more respect and admiration for the race now that I've done it than before when I only dreamed about doing it. Now I know why people want to keep coming back again and again and again.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

JP Follows up with Kona Finisher Michelle


Once again, JP sat down with Michelle to talk Kona. This time, it was to go over her race in the Ironman World Championships. Michelle talks about the atomosphere, fitting in, what it took to finish, and what's next on her never end plate of endurance athletics.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Announcing Book Bike Project!




From time to time on my blog I will allude to my day job as a librarian at Illinois Wesleyan University. My career choice intersects with my triathlon endeavors more than often than you would imagine. In particular, I attribute some of my success as a long course triathlete to my abilities to research all the minutiae of racing, training, nutrition, recovery, etc. Being able to evaluate and manage large amounts of information has made me a better triathlete and an even better coach. It was only recently that I came across a way to even further integrate many of my life-long passions: literacy, sustainability, fitness and education. Enter the Book Bike!


The Book Bike idea came from a great guy up in Chicago named Gabe Levinson. Gabe has a website about his book bike project here: http://www.bookbike.org/about/ . The beauty of the idea is in its simplicity. A bicycle is one of the most low-tech forms of transportation out there. Riding reduces carbon emissions and promotes physical fitness. Now take a three-wheeled bike and mount a book case on the front! In the vein of the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it Simple Stupid) the concept is to ride the book bike to public places and just give away books- no strings attached!

Gabe's Book Bike Project originally crossed my radar when I saw this YouYube Video:

I forwarded the video to some of my library colleagues and Karen Schmidt, our library director, jumped on the concept and started making plans to bring a book bike to Bloomington. Karen is on the Bloomington City Council and part of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP). The Book Bike supports several parts of the WBRP strategic plan, including education, engagement with youth, and greening initiatives.


The bike itself is a US-made front load Worksman Tricycle. Unlike a kids tricycle, it has two wheels up front that allow the bike to support a heavy load. These bikes are used in large factories for internal deliveries and by a variety of street vendors. We worked with our local bike shop, Vitesse Cycle, to coordinate ordering and assembling the bike. The book case was designed and donated by Mark Fagerland of Unique Design in Normal, IL. It sits on the front platform and then when you get to your location, it unfolds and locks to display the books.


Steering the bike is surprisingly easy with the two wheels up front. Currently the bike is set up as a single speed, but we are looking at re-working the gear ratio to better manage hills! The bike itself probably weighs 75-100 lbs. The book case is another 75 lbs. When you add rider weight to that equation, you are talking about quite a bit of weight! I had the distinction of being the guinea pig rider for the first 10-block maiden voyage of the book bike! The one small hill was somewhat challenging even for an experienced cyclist! Once we get the bike geared down, it should be surprisingly easy to ride around town.



Our Book Bike debut was at a a Fall Family Fun Festival near some community garden plots in West Bloomington. The bike itself drew more interest from the adults, while some of the kids in attendance grabbed some free books before rain forced the bike inside.





Opened up, the bookcase looks something like this (photo is of Gabe's bike)



We are looking for donations of new and gently used books, as well as financial donations to support the Book Bike. Donations for the book bike should be marked as such and sent to: Illinois Prairie Community, 202 N Prospect Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704-7914. Book donations can be dropped off at the WBRP office.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kona Finisher!

On Saturday, October 9, Team Evotri's Rural Girl, heard those words that every aspiring Ironman triathlete hopes to hear, "You are an Ironman!" Except that she heard them on Ali'i drive while finishing the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship! She sported a huge smile flashing shakas with both hands as she crossed the line.

Michelle enjoyed the beautiful swim, conquered the challenging winds and heat on the bike course, and cruised through the run in for a 12:06:05 finish. Reflecting on her race she said, "that's the hardest Ironman race ever!" noting that winds were so strong on the bike, that she witnessed athletes falling from being blown off course. And the heat was so strong, she felt that her skin was going to start boiling! She was able to bring herself back together on the run, especially enjoying the crowd support on Ali'i drive, even though she worked it all the way to the line, not allowing another female competitor to beat her; Michelle's way of having fun!

After an excellent year finishing two Ironman races, two half-iron distances, several snowshoe races, and all the ups and downs that goes with training, she's welcoming some time off before she readies herself for the 2011 Team Evotri race, the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, MN.

Congratulations, Michelle!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Retul!

JP Severin

Retuling my Bike

This season I have vowed to not cut any corners in my Ironman preparation. I have got the nutrition gear I need to fuel properly, I have bought new racing tires, a Specialized TT2 aero helmet, and I also invested in a bike fit.

I have been thinking about a fitting for a while now, despite having reasonable success fitting myself. I just felt I needed it to be spot on. A lot of fitters just eyeball it with a static fit. Essentially, as you go through your pedal stroke, they stop you at different intervals and look at the angles your body is making. It is good, but it is still cutting a corner. Biking is a dynamic motion so to truly get a proper fit, it should be a dynamic fitting. Basically this means the angles are measured as you are pedaling.

I figured a static fit was something I could do myself. I needed the best dynamic fit that I could find.

This is where
Retul comes in. It is a company based in Boulder that is making noise in the tri industry and fitting a ton of pros. Retul is a bike fitting system that incorporates three-dimensional motion ca
pture technology to provide what they claim is an incredibly accurate dynamic fitting solution. In theory, the result is that the rider will have a true fit to his or her bike, maximizing efficiency and performance while avoiding discomfort or injury. Sound good? It did to me but I was skeptical.

I set about looking for a Retul fitter in my area. Luckily my favorite shop, Win’s wheels, offered Retul. Win’s wheels is an amazing shop with phenomenal mechanics who don’t miss a thing. They have done everything for me from gluing tubulars to total drive train overhauls. I love the work they do so I was thrilled that they offered what I was looking for.

I set up a time and went in. Win’s wheels has an agreement with Franco Bicycles, a shop in Malibu, to bring Julian, a certified Retul fitter, in. We talked for a bit and then I hopped on his Cycleops Powerbeam. I warmed up at 180 watts, dialed in by the trainer. He had set up 8 sensors on my body that measure points in 3-dimensions and set about examining the numbers as I pedaled. After talking about it, we made some significant changes. My seat went up, my aerobars were swapped out, and my stem came in. My hip angle was the major difference. I initially felt super open and could breath with ease. I was still skeptical as I felt like a sail being so high in the air.

The truth would be told out on the roads. To date it has been about a month of putting the fit through the motions. Immediately I noticed more glute activation and felt super smooth, and powerful. I was very comfortable. It was an incredible night and day feeling. My eyeball fit wasn’t bad, but the
Retul fit was mind-blowing. I wondered if it would translate to speed… My thought was it may have compromised some aerodynamics which I wasn’t too pleased about.

I did a few TT’s and, to my surprise, things were looking good but only racing matters.

I recently raced Rev3 and when I hopped on my bike, I felt like I was floating. The speed was coming! I biked my way from 5 minutes back in wave 2 to the front of the race. I couldn’t believe it. I had the 2nd fastest bike split, only back by 3 seconds to a guy who biked 4:45 at Ironman Florida! The crazy thing was how easy it was. The effort was SUPER controlled and I felt smooth and efficient the whole day. I guess this Retul thing works! If you spend 2 grand on a bike, spend another couple hundred and make that thing work for you. It is totally worth it. Don’t cut corners!





The new position at Rev3 Cedar Point!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

JP Interviews Kona bound Michelle!


Listen in as JP takes his outstanding interview style live as he interviews Team Evotri's Michelle (aka Rural Girl) as she gets ready for the World Ironman Championship in Kona, HI. (She's bib #1153, in case you want to track her.)

Highlights include:

  • Michelle's IM Lake Placid Race Review

  • Special "training" Michelle has included prepping for her time in Hawaii

  • Lightening Round!


Best of luck to Michelle and all the Kona-bound athletes this weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Speedy Laura's Chili

By: TriSaraTops

I don't know about you, but I LOVE fall training. Here in the Midwest, it is absolutely my favorite season to train. Low humidity, sunny skies, and a little bit of a chill in the air...perfect!

I also love to use the Crock Pot in the fall. I'm a firm believer that the crock pot is a busy triathlete's best friend. With a little know-how, you can whip up a fabulous meal that's healthy and all ready for you when you come in the door from a nice, fall, post-work run! It just doesn't get better than that.

My friend Laura has this amazing recipe that she threw together for black bean and sweet potato chili. It is so fabulous, that I'm going to name it after her. It will hereby be called Speedy Laura's Chili. Because this girl is FAST. She's pretty much my running mommy idol. Throw this together and you'll be amazed, too! I just wish it could make me run crazy fast like Laura, but I'll settle for some tasty grub for now.

Speedy Laura's Chili
(serves 6-8)

2 x-large sweet potatoes chopped (if you only have smaller ones then shoot for about a pound of sweet potatoes)
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
5 stalks of celery chopped
1.5 c dried black beans
1 c brown rice (we like it thick, but you can omit and serve cooked rice separately if you like it more soupy)
24 oz of strained tomatoes (I have also used 2 cans of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes)
3 c veggie broth
1 c water (may need to add more over the course of cooking--check periodically)
1 TBSP cumin (I like herbs and spices a lot, so I use a lot!)
1 TBSP coriander
1 TBSP oregano
Cayenne to taste (My little guy loves this so I back off a bit for him, but you could make it as spicy as you want!)
Salt to taste

Throw everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. And here's a secret: it's even better the second day! My husband the carnivore asked for some ground turkey thrown in, so I tried it--also fabulous, but I think I prefer it veggie-style.

This recipe is chock-full of tastiness AND is great for triathletes, too! The sweet potatoes and black beans are a great source of vitamins A, C, folate, protein, and fiber. So follow up a nice fall ride with a bowl of this Speedy Chili, and don't forget to pick up some crusty bread for dipping!

Happy fall training...and eating!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evotri Announces 2011 Team Race

Evotri is excited to announce that the team will compete in next year's Life Time Fitness Triathlon tentatively scheduled for July 9, 2011 in the beautiful Lake Nokomis of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Local teammate Sarah (aka Pharmie) is excited to have the team race what was her first triathlon ever, "It's such a great event for both new triathletes and challenging enough for experienced triathletes. I'm looking forward to having the team enjoy all that the Twin Cities has to offer."

The Olympic distance race offers a time trial start for the over 3,500 age group atheletes and a significant purse for the professional triathletes competing in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series Race to the Toyota Cup.

Several Evotri team members have started to talk trash, providing much needed motivation for each other to focus on their winter training. The entire team laughed when Stu proclaimed, "I have never been so excited to pound Michelle and RobbyB into the ground in MN!!!!!" Either way, the team is looking forward getting together for some exiting racing and camaraderie.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Team Evotri Conquers Rev3 Half

Team Evotri ripped up the Rev3 Half course Sunday breaking personal records and gathering awards. JP led the way flying to a second place finish overall, with Sweet following close behind for sixth place, tops in his age group. Sara and Sarah both smashed their personal records breaking the six-hour barrier for the first time. And Michelle, fresh off her Kona-qualifying effort at Lake Placid nipped RobbyB at the finish by 39 seconds on her way to second place in her age group. Charlie and wife Lisa, all the way from Louisiana, ripped the course (and the roller coasters,) smiling the whole time. Stu was on hand covering the event live for Rev3 while Tracy, on the mend, helped cheer on the team to their great performances.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rev3 Is the Place to Be!


Well, the gang's all here in Sandusky, Ohio - the buoys are out, the chop is wild, and the coasters are high!

From the top of the sky wheel, the cold rainstorm looks far, far away, but it was only a few short hours before the rain really started coming down just like it did about this time of year in Madison, Wisconsin, 2006. Needless to say, this gave quite a chill to several members of Team Evotri, who raced or crewed Ironman that fateful day.

It's definitely about time to hit the sack for now, but be sure to tap into the live race feed from Rev3tri.com Sunday morning to cheer on the team!

Pharmie, Robby B., Rural Girl, Sweet, and Iron Wil chill -- literally -- outside of transition as the sun comes up over the water today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

One on One with Linsey Corbin!

Stu interviews Ironman Coeur d'Alene champion, Linsey Corbin. 100% Mondata made, this girl can rock. Listen as Linsey talks about what makes her tick, and what it is like to be a pro triathlete. This is one amazing athlete. Look for great things in her career!


Click to listen now -----> Simplystu_87__Linsey_Corbin.mp3